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Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, 1795-1797- 

The following documents from the British Public Record Office, 
the Department of State at Washington, and the Archives du Mini- 
stere des Affaires Etrangeres, Paris, illustrate the proposed attack 
upon the Spanish possessions of North America by frontiersmen and 
Indians expecting aid from Great Britain, to which the name Blount's 
Conspiracy is commonly given. For his connection with this affair, 
William Blount, senator from Tennessee, former governor of the 
Territory South of the Ohio, was expelled from the Senate. A brief 
sketch of the movement is given in the Review for January, 1905, 
X, 272-274, with citation of the material. Further references are 
in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, 
II, especially the introduction, and pp. 840, 919, 990, 1015, 1048, 
1068, 1075, 1079, io 9 : > io 98- 

The so-called Blount Conspiracy must be considered in rela- 
tion to the designs of France upon Louisiana ; the attitude of the 
Tory settlers at Natchez and the retention of the Spanish posts upon 
the Mississippi 1 ; England's war with Spain and her attitude toward 
the Mississippi valley from 1795 to 1798; Pitt's negotiations with 
Miranda, and the latter's overtures to Adams, Hamilton, etc. ; and 
the critical relations of the United States with France during 
Adams's administration. The land speculations in New York and 
on the Mississippi are also related to the intrigue. 

It is important to collate these documents with those in the trial 
of Blount: Annals of Fifth Congress, 1797-1799, I, 34-45, 448- 
466, 499 ff., 672-679; II, 2245-2416; see index to these volumes for 
speeches and legislative proceedings. Other important documents 
are in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 20-27, 66-77 
(Blount's letter to Carey is on pp. 76-77), 78-103; King, The Life 
and Correspondence of Rufus King, II, 196-258, passim; Victor 
Collot, Voyage dans I'Amcrique Septentrionale (2 vols., Paris, 1826), 
also in translation, A Journey in North America (Paris, 1826). 

1 Peter J. Hamilton, " Running Mississippi's South Line ", Publications of the 
Mississippi Historical Society, II, 157-168; G. L. Rives, "Spain and the United 
States in 1795", American Historical Review, IV, 62-79; F. L. Riley, "Span- 
ish Policy in Mississippi after the Treaty of San Lorenzo ", Report of American 
Historical Association, i8g7, 175-192, and Publications of the Mississippi His- 
torical Society, I, 50-66 ; F. L. Riley, " Transition from Spanish to American 
Rule in Mississippi", ibid., Ill, 261-311. 


Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, 1795-IJ97 5/5 

The documents from the archives of the Department of State 
were found and copied by the Bureau of Historical Research of the 
Carnegie Institution. I am indebted to Mr. C. F. Huth, graduate 
scholar in history in the University of Wisconsin, for assistance in 
preparing the annotations. 

Frederick J. Turner. 

I. Duke of Portland to Lieutenant-governor Simcoe. ' 

Whitehall 24 1 ! 1 October 1795 

The conversations you had with Lord Grenville previous to your leav- 
ing England relative to the dispositions of the Settlers in Kentucky, and 
the Western Count [r]y of the Northern States, joined to your own knowl- 
edge of them render it quite unnecessary for me to point out either 
their connexions or interests, or the extent to which they may be made 
subservient to His Majesty's Service, should a rupture take place with 
Spain — an event which I sincerely trust may not happen, but which 
nevertheless admits too great a degree of possibility, not to require our 
being prepared to meet it with every advantage that can be placed on 
our side. 

I am not, at this moment sufficiently apprized of the present senti- 
ments of these Settlers or whether the jealousies which formerly subsisted 
between them and the Spanish Government relative to the Mississipi 
still continue to influence them in such a manner, as would be likely to 
animate them to an immediate cooperation with this Country, in case 
the event should take place, which I have mentioned. I am therefore 
desirous of being confidentially informed by you, in particular on this point, 
and of receiving your opinion of the effect to be produced against the 
Spanish Settlements in North America, by the means of such co-operation 
as I have supposed. In addition to which, I should also wish for your 
sentiments with respect to any other movements with which this measure 
may require to be connected. 

You will clearly see for the present that no open or direct communica- 
tion on the subject of this letter can be made, on our parts to the Settlers 
in question, that all that can be done (and that will require your utmost 
care and circumspection) is, to cultivate such an intercourse with the 
leading Men of those Settlements, as will be likely to give to this 
Country a facility and advantage in acting with them, if ever a proper 
occasion should occur, carefully observing not to give any umbrage, or 
cause of suspicion to Spain, and avoiding whatever can, in the smallest 
degree commit this Country with the Government of the United States 
or make His Majesty a Party to any attacks on the Spanish Settlements, 
should no circumstances arise which may call for them on our part. 

1 Public Record Office, War Office (Colonial), Secret Entry Book. Duke of Portland. 
"Original drafts signed by him." Indorsed: " Lieut Governor Simcoe Most private 
and secret Sent in Cypher." 

5/6 Documents 

I forbear to call your attention to the assistance which, in the event 
I have supposed, may be afforded by the Southern and Western Indians, 
as, in communicating your sentiments to me, in consequence of what I 
have already stated, you will, of course include in any supposed meas- 
ures, which occasion may call for, the Services which might be derived 
from the above description of Persons. 

Some knowledge of such parts of Lake Michigan as form or facilitate 
a communication with the Mississipi, its boundaries, and the connection 
of its Inlets, in respect to what rate of Vessels or Crafts, they may admit, 
may be, eventually, very material, and if an opportunity should present 
itself for this purpose, which in carrying into execution the several pro- 
visions contained in Our Treaty with the United States, may very well 
be expected, you will of course take advantage of it and transmit me a 
proper Chart with observations. 1 

I am etc 


II. Robert Liston to Lord Grenville. 2 

Philadelphia 25 January 1797 

To the War Department 
My Lord 

A person of the name of Chisholm who has accompanied to Phila- 
delphia some warriors and Tribes of Indians who live on the South West 
Boundary of the United States has informed me that there are settled 
amongst these Tribes from a Thousand to Fifteen Hundred White 
Inhabitants principally British Subjects, attached to their Country and 
Sovereign, and ready to enter into a plan for the Recovery of the 

1 A letter in Canadian Archives, Series Q, 282-2, p. 694, dated November 23, 
1796, from W. Tatham (Latham ?) contains this paragraph : " I dare boldly pronounce 
the fallacy of any reliance of Cooperation in the Countries of Kentucky and Territory 
South of Ohio in Conjunction with those of Upper Canada at the present juncture. Nay, 
I rather doubt a tendency to support the French in settling La. through many avenues 
and I advance this opinion founded upon twenty years acquaintance with the premises 
and with almost every man of enterprise they contain, but still more on a more intimate 
communication with the affairs of the American States and with Generals Lee, Scott, 
Clarke Shelby Sevier, Martin, Robertson Gunn and others to whom General Simcoe is 
well known, and with some one or more of whom (whose hour is not yet come) he, I 
believe is in intimate correspondence and high esteem." 

George Rogers Clark alleged, in a letter of March 2, 1797, that English agents from 
Canada were in Kentucky to enroll volunteers destined to march against Louisiana, and 
that some days before he had received propositions to march at the head of two thousand 
men against New Mexico and had refused the offer. He did not believe the English 
could open the campaign before July. Their plan was, as he affirmed, to take St. Louis 
and then divide, one division to descend the Mississippi and the other to march against 
Santa Fe (Baron Marc de Villiers du Terrage, Les Demieres Annies de la Louisiani 
Fmnfaise, Paris, n. d. 1904, 362-363). See the Review, X, 274, note. 

2 Public Record Office, America 18. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ^/ps- f 797 577 

Floridas to Great Britain 1 and that he is authorized to make, through 
me, an offer of their Services to His Majesty for that purpose. He 
represents the Settlers alluded to as being able with a slight degree of 
countenance and co-operation from Government, not only to drive the 
Spaniards from East and West Florida, but also to take possession of 
these Provinces when conquered. The Chief Conditions proposed are 
That His Majesty should legalize the above Enterprize by granting Com- 
missions to a few of the Principal persons that might engage in it (which 
( ommission however should not entitle them to pay or permanent Rank) 
That the British Government should send a Frigate and two or three 
armed Vessels with a few Field pieces to assist in making an attack on 
Mobile and Pensacola (if it were found necessary) and should furnish a 
Thousand Weight of Powder and two Thousand Weight [ ] and 

one Thousand Blankets for the Indians who may be willing to [engage] 
in the Expedition. 

I shall enter more particularly into this Subject by the return of the 
November packet which I am in hourly expectation of seeing arrive in 
this Country. 2 

I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, My Lord 
Your Lordships, Most Obedient Humble Servant 

Rob. Liston 

R' Honble Lord Grenville 

III. Victor Collot to Carlos Martinez de Yrujo. 3 

Philadelphie, le i" mars 1797. 

Note remise au ministre de Sa Majeste Catholique par le general 
Collot relative a l'attaque de la Loiiisiane projettee par les Anglais. 

Je considere la haute Loiiisiane dans son etat actuel, ouverte de toute 
part, sans troupes, sans fortifications, le peuple inquiete, menace par 
l'Angleterre, envie par les Etats-Unis, et dans un peril imminent; et si 
elle est encore une possession de Sa Majeste Catholique, c'est parce 
qu'elle n'a pas ete attaquee. 

La haute Loiiisiane prise, la basse tombe necessairement, et il ne 
faudra qu'un peu plus ou moins de terns ; car je ne connais pas un poste 

1 Andrew Ellicott, in his Journal (Philadelphia, 1803), 1-75, says, regarding one of 
the committees about Natchez, that "a plan was early formed, to add to the Union, the 
two Floridas, with the island of Orleans, provided the Spaniards either committed hos- 
tilities against the citizens of the United States at Natchez or joined France in the contest 
against us. From the secrecy, talents, and enterprise of those concerned, added to a tem- 
porary system of finance, and a deposit of arms, there could not possibly be any doubt of 
the complete, and almost instantaneous success of the plan had it been attempted." 

2 Lieutenant-governor Prescott, of Quebec, wrote to Liston, February 16, 1797, of 
the difficulty that would attend sending supplies for the proposed expedition against the 
Floridas unless the people of the United States favored the enterprise, or England still 
held the posts south of the Lakes. Report on Canadian Archives, 1891, " Lower 
Canada", 149. See his complaints, August 31, 1797, of Pickering's having made 
the matter public, ibid., 155. 

8 Deciphered. Affaires Etrangeres, Etats-Unis Correspondance, vol. 47, folios 126— 
129, in No. II of Adet. General Collot had returned from his investigations in the 
Mississippi in January. For his career see the references referred to in the introduction. 

578 Documents 

(je le demontrerai dans mon memoire general) qui puisse tenir huit 
jours devant 2.000 hommes de bonnes troupes. La haute Louisiane 
entre les mains de 1'Angleterre ou des Americains ouvre la porte du 
Nouveau-Mexique en passant entre les rivieres des Osages et des Arkan- 
sas ou Ton ne trouve que de hautes futayes, des prairies naturelles et pas 
une seule riviere a traverser. Je sais qu'on traitera en Europe cette 
crainte de chimerique, d'idee gigantesque ; mais moi qui connais les 
lieux, le caractere entreprenant des peuples qui les habitent, et les pre- 
tendues difficultes que Ton suppose que l'ennemi trouvera, je repete que, 
si la haute Louisiane tombe entre les mains des Anglais ou des Ameri- 
cains, S'."-Fe sera pille et ravage la campagne suivante, parce que ces 
deux nations seront toujours d'accord, lorsqu'il s'agira de faire de 
l'argent et de depoiiiller Sa Majeste Catholique. 

Je n'approuve done pas par cette raison les enrolements qu'on pro- 
pose au ministre ; ils couteront des sommes immenses et on n'en tirera 
aucun parti. Ils seront meme tres dangereux, a moins qu'il n'y ait 
parmi eux beaucoup de Francais ; d'ailleurs, les sauvages auront une 
repugnance invincible a agir avec eux, et les habitans encore plus. 

Je pense done que ce qu'il y a de plus important a faire dans une 
circonstance aussi facheuse, est d' employer tous les moyens possibles, 
sinon pour faire echoiier cette expedition, au moins pour la retarder. 

Pour cela le ministre doit : 1° s'opposer de toutes ses forces a ce que 
les Anglais passent sur le territoire americain pour attaquer la haute 
Louisiane. Pour cet effet, je crois qu'il ne doit pas se contenter de 
traiter cette affaire avec le secretaire d'Etat, dont la fourberie est asses 
connue aux deux puissances alliees, mais encore avec le president des 
Etats-Unis. Voici pourquoi : e'est que s'il arrivait que, malgre les pro- 
testations dont cet homme est prodigue, le passage fut force, n'etant 
d'aucun poids par lui-meme, le gouvernement en serait quitte pour le 
desavoiier, le chasser meme au besoin pour donner une apparente satis- 
faction au Roy d'Espagne, et la Louisiane n'en serait pas moins perdue. 

Les Americains maitres aujourd'hui des postes ferment aux Anglais 
les trois principaux passages par lesquels ils pourraient deboucher des 
Lacs. Le premier en partant du Detroit, remontant la petite riviere des 
Minimis [Miamis] pour gagner les sources de la Wabach et la descendre 
jusqu'au poste Vincennes pour de la arriver par terre aux Illinois a Kas- 
kasias par une tres belle communication a travers un pais oil on ne 
rencontre que des prairies naturelles. 

Le second, en partant de Michilimakinac, passant par la bai'e des 
Puans, 1 remontant la riviere des Sacsouhaux 2 -River pour gagner par un 
portage de trois milles les sources de la riviere de Ouisconsing qui verse 
ses eaux dans le Mississipi. 

Le 3"".' 1 ' en partant de Michilimakinac, descendant le lac Michigan 
jusqu'aux sources de la riviere des Illinois (ce qui se fait dans les grandes 

1 Green bay, Wisconsin. 

2 Sacs ou paux ? The Fox river. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ^/pS' r 797 579 

eaux sans portage) pour suivre le cours de cette riviere jusques vis-a-vis 
S! Louis. 

Mais comme, independamment de ces trois passages fermes par la 
possession des forts americains, les Anglais pourraient neanmoins passer 
au dessus pour executer leurs desseins en rassemblant leurs forces sur le 
lac Superieur et remontant la riviere Coppe\f\mhtes pour joindre par un 
petit portage la tete de la riviere Vermilion qui se jette dans celle de 
Chippewa, qui conduit au Mississipi, ou bien par la oil est la bai'e du lac 
Superieur, qui offre aussi un passage en remontant une des petites rivieres 
du fond de cette bai'e, et joignant par un petit portage la tete de la 
riviere Froide, qui mene de meme au Mississipi. 

Le ministre d'Espagne doit, d'apres cela, -requerir le gouvernement 
americain d'etablir des postes sur ces communications, ne fut-il [fussent- 
ils] que de 4 ou 5 hommes, ils suffiront pour constater la violation du 
territoire des Etats-Unis et leur oter tout pretexte. 

Les Anglais seront alors forces de remonter jusqu'au lac des Bois 
pour gagner le territoire espagnol et la tete du Mississipi, leur ligne 
d' operations sera allongee et ils perdront encore beaucoup de terns en 
raison des rapides, chutes et portages infinis dont toute cette partie est 

11 est indispensable d'envoyer sans perdre de tems a S! Louis un 
officier de genie a talent, toute cette province en etant depourvue, pour 
mettreau moins hors d'insulte cette place ouverte de toutes parts, qui est 
la clef de la haute Loiiisiane par se position, et la facilite d'y former un 
bon camp retranche. 

Faire approvisionner cette place par le Kentukey aussi tot qu'il sera 
possible, parce qu'elle sera le rendes-vous general des troupes de sauvages 
et le reste. II faut d'ailleurs un tems infini pour tirer des vivres de la 
Nouvelle-Orleans, qui, en outre, serait certainement attaquee ou menacee 
en meme tems par le golfe du Mexique et aurait besoin de tous ses 
moyens. D'ailleurs l'Angleterre, ici bien puissante, employera son influ- 
ence aux Etats-Unis pour nuire a l'approvisionnement de la Loiiisiane. 
Comme le poste de L' Anse a la graisse * est en partie detruit par les eaux 
et que l'autorane dernier, on allait l'evacuer, il faut en transporter les 
troupes, l'approvisionnement et les munitions a S.' Loiiis, ainsi qu'une 
partie de la garnison des Ecoamargot" 1 et les trois galeres qui s'y trouvent 
placees un peu au dessus du Missouri et vis-a-vis de 1' embouchure des 
Illinois pour arreter tout ce qui pourrait descendre par cette riviere ou du 
haut Mississipi, avec ordre dans le cas ou elles seraient forcees, d'aller 
s' embosser sous le fort S' Loiiis. 

On doit faire occuper les postes intermediaires par les sauvages ; bien 
disposes, ils rempliront les vides et empecheront les Americains d'en 
prendre possession tant que la guerre durera. Je pense meme que les 

1 New Madrid . 

2 Ecores a Margot, Chickasaw Bluffs, Memphis, Tennessee. See Review, II, 480 ; 
Writings of Jefferson (Ford's ed.), VI, 335-336. 

580 Documents 

postes New-Gales ' et des Arkansas doivent etre ramenes a S' Loiiis ou 
leur garnison serait de la plus grande utilite ; d'ailleurs politiquement 
parlant, je le[s] trouve beaucoup mieux entre les mains des sauvages. 

Par cette disposition, le gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Orleans, au lieu 
de se degarnir, pourra renforcer les postes de la Nouvelle-Orleans, Baton- 
Rouge, Silenque- Mines' 1 et autres avec les milices des Natches (la plus 
part des habitans des Natches est compose d'anciens Tysdesers-unis? 
devoues aux Anglais), de la pointe-coupee* et des Carolines. Quant aux 
Florides, la Havane doit leur fournir des secours. 

Mais pour operer un effet moral plus puissant, rallier beaucoup 
d' opinions, determiner toutes les nations sauvages si nombreuses dans 
cette partie a s'armer, co-ntre les Anglais, enchainer les Americains des 
Etats de l'ouest et nord-ouest, faire prononcer les Canadiens des Lacs, il 
faudrait des Francais ; le plus petit corps de troupes de la Republique non 
seulement sauverait cette colonie de l'ennemi commun, mais encore met- 
trait Sa Majeste Catholique a meme de porter bientot la guerre dans le 
coeur du Canada. Ce n'est pas ici jactance, orguei'l national, c'est la 
verite extraite de ce que j'ai vu, entendu et observe dans la reconnais- 
sance que j'ai faite de ces contrees. Mais le tems presse, l'ennemi est a la 
porte, les grandes autorites sont eloignees, cette idee ne peut servir que 
pour 1'avenir. Peut-etre serait-il possible de suppleer momentanement a 
ces grands obstacles en faisant lever au nom de la France dans la haute 
Loiiisiane un corps de Canadiens; j'indiquerai la forme et le lieu du ras- 
semblement. Cette union des deux nations serait d'un grand poids et 
suffirait peut-etre pour suspendre 1' expedition des Anglais, dans le doute 
ou ils seraient de savoir quelle part les Etats de l'ouest pourraient prendre 
a cette guerre. 

Je prie le ministre de peser dans sa sagesse cette note ecrite a la hate 
et trop peu developpee, mais qui renferme des verites qui feront peut- 
etre epoque un jour ; car la perte de la Loiiisiane dans la situation ou se 
trouvent la France et l'Espagne vis-a-vis des Etats-Unis, serait un des 
coups les plus funestes aux deux puissances alliees. On doit done tout 
faire pour la sauver. 5 Pour cQpie conforme 

Signe P. A. Adet. 

IV. General Collot to Chevalier de Yrujo. 6 
Deuxieme note remise au ministre d'Espagne par le general Collot, 
pour servir de reponse aux differentes questions qui lui ont ete adressees 
par ce ministre par sa lettre en date du i c . r mars 1797. 

Dans la premiere note que j'ai eu l'honneur de remettre au ministre 
d'Espagne, je crois lui avoir suffisamment demontre quelle etait 1' im- 
portance de la plan de S.' Louis. 

1 Nogales, Walnut Hills, Vicksburg. 

2 Plaquemines ? 

3 United Tory deserters ? 

4 Pointe Coupee, Louisiana. 

5 Compare Carondelet's plan of defense, 1794, in the Review, II, 474-505. 
6 Affaires Etrangeres, Etats-Unis Correspondance, vol. 47, folios 130-131. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, 1795- 1797 581 

II ne me reste plus pour repondre aux differentes questions inserees 
dans sa lettre en date du 1™ mars 1797, qu'a lui faire connaitre que la 
conservation de cette place (d'apres sa situation topographique) depend 
autant de ses soins que de ceux du gouverneur general de la Louisiane. 

On ne peut revoquer en doute que toutes les fois qu'une puissance 
est en guerre avec une autre, le premier soin d'un fonctionnaire public est 
de mettre en etat de defense toutes les parties sous la domination de son 
souverain appellees extremes frontieres, sans attendre meme qu'elles soient 
menacees, il suffit settlement qu'elles puissent 1'etre d'un instant a 
l'autre pour justiffier cette sage precaution. 

S! Louis est l'extreme frontiere de la haute Louisiane relativement 
au Canada, puisque c'est a compter du Missouri que finissent les derniers 
etablissemens formes sur le territoire de Sa Majeste Catholique dans la 
haute Louisiane. 

La paix meme ne serait pas une excuse suffisante pour ne pas mettre 
cette place en etat de defense, puis qu'elle doit proteger par la suitte du 
terns le commerce de ces immenses contrees, arreter tous les envahisse- 
mens et violations de territoire de la part des Anglais, qui se sont deja 
empare[s] de la partie la plus precieuse appartenante a Sa Majesty 
Catholique, parce qu'ils n'ont rien trouve qui s'y soit oppose, ainsi que 
je l'ai fait connaitre au ministre d'Espagne, lorsque je lui ai rendu compte 
de mon voyage. 

Que c'est de S! Louis que doivent etre repartis tous les differents 
postes que Sa Majeste Catholique sera obligee de faire etablir sur les 
limites projettees entre le Canada et la Louisiane, et empecher par la les 
empietements auxquels les lignes de demarcation imaginaires ne four- 
nissent que trop de pretextes aux puissances ambitieuses et de mauvaise foi . 

Mais comme le ministre d'Espagne pourrait m'objecter que ces soins 
devraient naturellement appartenir au gouverneur de la Louisiane, je lui 
observerai que, quels que soient les talents et Pactivite bien connus de 
M' le Baron de Carondelet, il lui est impossible de porter des secours et 
d'approvisionner la place de S! Louis avec la meme facilite et la meme 
celerite que le ministre d'Espagne en a le pouvoir par la voye de Phila- 
delphie, parce qu'il faut deux mois et demi de la Nouvelle-Orleans pour 
aller a S! Louis et qu'un seul suffit pour s'y rendre del' Etat de Kentucky ; 
que les farines a la Nouvelle-Orleans cofltaient a mon depart 20 et 24 
piastres, tandis qu'elles n'en coutent que 5 et 6 dans les Etats de l'ouest. 
II y a done pour Sa Majeste Catholique economie de tems et de depense 
extremement precieuse. 

A l'egard de mon opinion sur la necessite d'envoyer d'ici un officier 
du genie dans la haute Louisiane, elle est fondee sur ce que cette pro- 
vince en est totalement depourvue ; que d'ailleurs l'officier que le ministre 
d'Espagne depechera d'ici doit selon tous les calculs des distances gtre 
rendu a S! Louis 6 semaines ou 2 mois avant celui que Ton pourrait 
tirer de la Havane. 

C'est par cette meme raison que je n'hesite pas a me rendre a la 

582 Documents 

demande que m'a faite le ministre d'Espagne de lui communiquer ce que 
je pense qu'il seroit raisonnable de faire pour mettre la place de S' 
Louis a l'abri d'un coup de main. 1 

II trouvera, dans le projet que j'ai l'honneur de luy adresser cy- 

joint, ce que je pense a ce sujet, bien entendu qu'il sera soumis a l'exa- 

men de M. le Baron de Carondelet, afin qu'il puisse y faire tous les 

changemens, les corrections et additions qu'il croira justes et necessaires. 

Fait a Philadelphie, le 9 mars 1797, (V. S.) 

Signe, V. Collot. 

Pour copie conforme 

P. A. Adet. 

V. Robert Liston to Lord Grenville.' 

Philadelphia 16 March 1797 
My Lord 

The Bearer of this Letter is Mr Chisholm the Gentleman mentioned 
in my Letters No 2 and 3 as having been charged by certain Persons 
inhabiting near the South West Frontiers of the United States, to pro- 
pose a Plan for the Conquest of the Floridas 

He has lately received Letters from some of the Adventurers who 
wish the most ardently to engage in the Enterprize representing in such 
lively Colours the facility of its Execution and the Certainty of Success 
at the same Time urging him so strongly to bring the Business to a con- 
clusion before he returns among them that he felt himself irresistibly 
impelled to make a Voyage to Europe in order to Explain his Views to 
His Majesty's Ministers and to obtain a definite answer on the subject 
before the Season be too far advanced. 

My Chisholm 's Correspondents appear to have given him an account 
of the Dispositions of the Inhabitants of the Spanish Territories adjoining 
to the United States that has persuaded him of the possibility of joining 
to the Acquisition of Florida the Reduction of the Forts on the Missis- 
sipi, the Conquest of New Mexico, and a Diversion that might ultimately 
contribute to the Independence of South America, if that were consid- 
ered as a Measure essential to the Interests of Great Britain 

The Certainty which the last accounts from Europe convey of the 
farther Continuance of the War, the Probability of the Cession of Louis- 
iana to the French by the Spaniards, and the serious consequences that 
must attend it, together with the Advantages which might accrue to His 
Majesty's Interests from even a temporary possession of that Country are 
Considerations that struck me as being of such Importance as to render 
it improper for me to discourage the Idea of his Voyage. I have there- 
fore consented to Mf Chisholm's Proposal and have paid his Passage to 
England, 3 giving him hopes at the same time that the Expences of his 

' See Collot's plan for fortifying St. Louis in his Journey in North America, I, 249- 
252, 257-264. 

2 Public Record Office, America 18. 

3 See number VII, note 3, p. 584. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ijcj^-iygy 583 

Stay in London, and of his Return to this Country will be defrayed by 
His Majesty's Government provided the amount does not exceed the 
Sum of One Hundred and Fifty pounds. The charge of the whole 
Expedition as stated by him is so very inconsiderable and the Risk seems 
to come so little home to Great Britain that there appears to be hardly 
any objection to making the Experiment except the possibility of being 
imposed upon by Characters of which it is not easy to obtain a competent 
knowledge. But this danger might in a great degree be obviated by 
sending one or two Persons of Consequence to direct the operations and 
control the Disbursements 

I shall take the first safe opportunity of mentioning further particulars 
of the plan of operations in Question and shall content myself at present 
with suggesting that although any apparent Infraction of the Neutrality 
of the United States might be avoided by the Proposal of Captain Chis- 
holm that the Adventurers (who have never become Citizens of America) 
should all pass over to the Spanish Territory, before they begin their 
Military Preparations, yet there are solid Reasons against complying with 
the proposed Invitation to the Indian Tribes to join the King's Standard, 
since by the Treaty between the United States and Spain, it is expressly 
stipulated that the Contracting Parties shall reciprocally prevent the 
Commission of Hostilities by the Indians settled within their respective 
Boundaries, and even use Force for that Purpose if it should be found 
necessary. This Difficulty can hardly be otherwise done away than by a 
Rupture between France and America, which might also involve His 
Catholic Majesty and of course annul the Treaty alluded to But there 
is Reason to think that the Assistance of the Indians is not absolutely 
necessary to the Success of the Enterprize. 

As It is not unlikely that this Dispatch may be prevented from reach- 
ing your Lordship's hands I have furnished the Bearer with ostensible 
Letters of Recommendation to M! Hammond, but so expressed as to 
conceal the real object of his journey. 

I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect 

My Lord, Your Lordship's most obedient humble Servant 
R! Honbl" Lord Grenville Rob. Liston 

VI. Robert Liston to [George Hammond?]. 1 

Philadelphia 16 March 1797 
Dear Sir 

The bearer, Mf Chisholm is the Gentleman concerning whom I wrote 
to you in my Letters of the 35 th of January and 13'!' of last month to 
which I beg leave to refer you. 

He, and his partners and employers have become impatient and he 
sets out with an intention of Explaining the business and procuring a 
definitive answer himself. 

Should he be disappointed at Hamburgh, and come to London, I, 
with perfect confidence deliver him into your hands for every degree of 

1 Public Record Office, America IS. 

584 Documents 

support and assistance he may require. He is likely among other things, 
to need your aid to put his thoughts into proper stile and shape on paper ; 
for he is more used to talk over the praises of Lands, the advantages of 
their situation and the facility of their improvement than to write upon 
the Subject and our monied monied [sic] men are so much surfeited with 
eloquent descriptions that they are become fastidious and will not be 
affected by an artful tale. 

I hope you will at all events redispatch him soon for America and 
not allow him to spend money unnecessarily in London. I have desired 
Moore to supply him with what he may want during his stay but I trust 
the sum will not be large and I equally trust you will finally reimburse 
me the whole whatever it be, for my interest compared with that of the 
great monied men in question is next to nothing. 

Captain Williamson who has been once more in town assures me the 
lands in the Genesee Country are by no means unhealthy when the woods 
are cut down and cultivation commenced but I still doubt Poor Bob 
Morris is at length obliged to sell, and has already advertised his mag- 
nificent possessions in this Country not excepting the palace in Chesnut 

I remain, with perfect truth and regard 
My dear Sir 

Your most obedient and faithful humble Servant 

Rob. Liston 

VII. Robert Liston to John D. Chisholm. 1 
Memorandum for M'. Chisholm — 

On arriving at Hamburgh, M r Chisholm will call on M r Coverts, to 
whom I have written a Letter, 2 and on M r Peyron, the Swedish Minister 
to whom I also wrote sometime ago, and who is a very excellent Man. — 
These two Gentlemen will be sufficient for every thing you may want, 
except for Money, which I know you have taken your measures to pro- 
cure elsewhere. 3 

If you are forced to come to London, I have given you Letters which 
I hope will suffice for every thing, and even for Money. When you 
wish to correspond with me, carry your Letters to the Secretary of States 
Office Downing Street Westminster, at the beginning of a month ; at 
other times write by Ship. R. L 

: Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, England, volume 
5. Headed, " — Copy — [the original in the possession of R King]". 

2 This letter to J. H. Goverts, introducing Chisholm, was given by Chisholm to 
King, and is printed in King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, II, 198. 

3 Pickering in a letter to the committee of impeachment says that Liston confessed to 
him to have paid the passage for Chisholm and also to have given him a draft on his 
own banker in London for £20. Thus it may be technically true that, as Chisholm in his 
declaration claims, Liston had never advanced him any money {Annals of Fifth Congress, 
II, 2374; see also King to Secretary of State, August 28, 1797, King, Correspondence, 
II, 217-218). Thomas Davy in a letter to William Davy, dated September 13, 1797, 
says that Chisholm had tried in vain to borrow from him, and that the British ministry 
had amply supplied Chisholm with money {Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2369-2370). 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, iyg^-iygj 585 

17. March ijgj. 
P: S the Originals, of which the foregoing are true Copies, are in my 
Possession, having been delivered to me by J. D Chisholm. 

London Dec'', p. lygj Rufus King 

VIII. General Coi.lot to Chevalier de Yrujo. 1 

2<ime Nj t e adressee an ministre de Sa Majeste Catholique pres des 
Etats-Unis d'Amerique par le general Collot. 

D'apres la deposition du Sf Michel, habitant du Tennessee, il parait : 

i° qu'il a ete fait par le nomme Chisholm, agent anglais et habitant 
du Tennessee un enrolement de 1000 habitans de cette province de- 
stines a attaquer les postes du Baton-Rouge, de New-Gales et des Ecors 
a Margot appartenant a Sa Majeste Catholique. 

2 que Chisholm a fait toute la reconnaissance de la Louisiane et des 
deux Florides, et determine les nations Creek et Cherokees a tourner 
leurs armes contre les possessions espagnoles. 

3 que Chisholm a obtenu une liste de 1.500 Torys ou loyalistes 
anglais des Natchez, qui se sont engages a prendre les armes en faveur 
des Anglais, des qu'ils paraitront pour attaquer la Basse Louisiane et 
marcher par cette conquete sur S'." Fe. 

4° qu'il se forme un rassemblement sur les Lacs dans le Haut-Ca- 
nada, compose de 500 anglais troupe [s] de ligne, 700 canadiens, milice 
soldee, et 2000 sauvages des Lacs qui doivent etre commandes par le 
chef indien Brent." 1 

5 que ce corps doit descendre par la riviere des Illinois, attaquer 
S! Louis, la Nouvelle- Madrid, marcher ensuite sur S':' Fe en suivant les 
rivieres S! Francois et des Arkansas. 

6° que Chisholm s'est procure 6 pieces de canons de campagne, 
qu'il a deposees sur la riviere du Tennessee entre les mains d'un de ses 
agens, et que ces pieces sont les memes autrefois destinees a 1' expedition 
du citoyen Genet. 

7° que le rendez-vous des Americains doit avoir lieu a Knoxville 
dans le Tennessee le i c . r Juillet. 

8° qu'en consequence Chisholm, apres avoir ainsi tout dispose, et 
apres avoir fait son rapport au ministre d'Angleterre, M r Liston, est parti 

le 28 de mars pour Londres sur le brig destine pour Hambourg pour 

faire part de ce project au gouvernement et demander des vaisseaux et de 
l'argent pour son execution. 

Le Sf Michel a depose en outre qu'une partie des membres du Senat 

americain etait dans le secret, notamment MM. Bi , Li , et 

Ru . 3 

1 Affaires Etrangeres, Etats-Unis Correspondance, volume 47, folios 137-139. 

2 Brant, the celebrated chief. 

3 Blount ? Livermore ? Rutherford ? These names of senators in the Fifth Congress 
most nearly supply the omissions. The editor has no other reason for the conjecture. 

AM. HIST. REV., VOL. X. — 38. 

586 Documents 

Pour preuve de ce qu'il a avarice, le S' Michel a remis une lettre 
originale signee de Chisholm par laquelle il lui recommande de se trouver 

a l'epoque convenue a pour agir en consequence du plan 

arrete. Cy-jointe copie de la lettre. 1 


La deposition ci-dessus semble confondre deux projets hostiles contre 
la Louisiane qui sont egalement sur le tapis, mais qui n'ont aucune con- 
nexion entre eux. 

Les Americains de l'ouest et les Anglais, quelque desir qu'ils ayent, 
les uns et les autres, de chasser les Espagnols de la Louisiane, n'agiront 
jamais ensemble ; les Americains du Tennessee et du Kentucky sont 
ennemis jures de l'Angleterre, et n'aspirent dans ce moment qu'a prendre 
possession des postes etablis sur la rive gauche du Mississipi, reculer 
toutes les nations sauvages jusqu'au dela du fleuve pour n' avoir plus de 
guerre indienne a craindre et acquerir de nouvelles terres. 

Les Creeks et les Cherokees ont de tout terns ete les allies et les amis 
de l'Espagne. ainsi que les ennemis declares des Americains ; un change- 
ment aussi prompt est invraisemblable. 

1 The letter of Chisholm to Mitchell and Major Craig inclosed in this letter of Collot 
is printed in Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2399 ; and Collot, Journey in North America, 
II, 67 ; French edition, II, 90. 

On Mitchell and Craig see Chisholm's declaration, number XIII, post. Mitchell 
had given information to the Spanish authorities at Natchez in December, 1793, concern- 
ing the plot of Genet, Report of American Historical Association, iSgb, I, 1029. See 
Mitchell's deposition in Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2336, 2398-2399. 

The text of the letter in the Journey varies in minor phraseology and substitutes May 
for July. Possibly the verbal discrepancies arise from translation. Collot's statement, 
in his Journey, II, 64-68, that he informed Gayoso at Natchez of the circumstantial 
details of the hostile preparations against Louisiana and that he received Chisholm's 
letter at that place, is impossible, since the letter bears the date March 17, 1797, and the 
date of Collot's stay at Natchez was in October, 1796. Collot reached Philadelphia by 
the beginning of January, 1797, and it was not until February 24 that Adet informed his 
government that the English meditated an expedition against Upper Louisiana and a 
descent of the Mississippi. He remarks that he had had conferences in the matter with 
the Spanish minister, Yrujo. That minister called the attention of the Secretary of State 
on February 27 to an expedition said to be planned against Spanish territory, and again, 
on March 2, the Spanish minister briefly mentions the Fox and Wisconsin rivers as the 
line of attack, and St. Louis and New Madrid as objective points {American State 
Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 68, 87-89). Chisholm was a babbler, and on March 19, 
according to the testimony in the Blount case, he was " vociferating vehemently amidst 
a crowd of Frenchmen " at a Philadelphia tavern {Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2368). 
Possibly Collot secured his detailed evidence and the Chisholm letter and deposition at 
this time. Chisholm's date of sailing had been fixed for March 19, but the vessel did 
not depart until the next day, and Chisholm sent letters back from the Capes, including 
one to Blount, March 23 {ibid., 2369). The date of Collot's present letter, April 15, 
1797, is certainly significant. He may have desired to dignify his western inquiries by 
antedating this discovery. But see his account of Lorimer's disclosures {Journey, II, 
11-13), which were probably the basis of his first reports to the French and Spanish 
ministers. Note the relation of this subject to the retention of the Spanish posts and to 
Liston's correspondence with Pickering {American Slate Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 
20-103, passim"). 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, iycj 15- 1/ yj 587 

Une partie des habitans des Natches prendra sans doute volontiers les 
amies pour les Anglais, mais, royalistes refugies de la derniere guerre, ils 
n'agiront jamais en faveur des Americains. 

Je crois fermement qu'il y a un plan de [?] forme par 1' Angleterre pour 
attaquer la Louisiane et que ce plan est secrettement favorise par un parti 
aux Etats-Unis ; mais les deux plans dont parle le S. r Michel sont tres 

Les Americains du Tennessee et du Kentucky veulent avoir les postes 
occupes par les troupes de Sa Majeste Catholique, mais quand [quant] 
a present ils n'attaqueront pas la Louisiane ; ils se battraient plutot 
contre l'Angleterre. Ils ne peuvent etre soutenus dans l'attaque de ces 
postes par aucune nation sauvage, excepte par une portion des Chikasaws, 
et Ton fera tourner aisement contre eux les Natches. 

Les Anglais (ou les compagnies du Canada) veulent la Louisiane et 
principalement la partie superieure, pour leur commerce de pelleteries, 
et ils entraineront dans cette expedition les Canadiens et les nations 
sauvages, en leur persuadant que c'est contre l'Espagne seule qu'ils 
veulent faire la guerre. 

Mais mon opinion est que, d'apres les mesures sages et fermes prises, 
il y a plus d'un mois, par le ministre de Sa Majeste Catholique pres des 
Etats-Unis, en faisant passer un ingenieur a S! Louis pour mettre cette 
place en etat de defense, et requerant le gouvernement des Etats-Unis, 
de faire respecter son territoire, il est impossible, si le gouvernement 
federal est de bonne foi et fait respecter sa neutrality, que les Anglais 
puissent attaquer la haute Louisiane avant l'hiver prochain ; ce qui donne 
a la Cour d' Espagne tout le tems necessaire pour porter dans cette 
partie de sa colonie des secours sufnsans pour la mettre a l'abri d'une 

A l'egard du second plan d' invasion, desuni dans ses parties, M.'. le 
gouverneur de la Louisiane est encore a tems de le deconcerter par des 
mesures promptes, tant en faisant renforcer les peuples menaces, qu'en 
faisant agir pres des sauvages, des Natches et des Americains de l'ouest, 
des agens differens, qui sachent faire tourner au profit de Sa Majeste 
Catholique leurs interets divers, et leurs passions tres distinctes. 

Philadelphie, le 15 avril 1797 (V. S.) 

Signe, V. Collot. 
Pour copie conforme 

P. A. Adet. 

588 Documents 

IX. Robert Liston to Lord Grenville. 1 

Philadelphia io May 1797 
My Lord 

The project suggested by the person mentioned in my letters N° 2, 
3, and 8 was of so great importance and on a consideration of the weak 
and neglected state of the Spanish American Settlements, appeared to be 
of such easy execution that I thought it my duty not to prevent His 
Majesty's Ministers from having an opportunity of discussing the subject 
with a man who (though without education or brilliant talents) seemed 
to be enterprizing, resolute, and well acquainted with the proposed 
scene of action. 

A circumstance has however since occured which must add to the 
difficulty of carrying into effect any plan of the nature of the one in 

Suspicions have gone abroad which I do not know how to account 
for, otherwise than by the indiscretion of the proposer — that the Gov- 
ernment of Great Britain has actually an intention of attacking the Span- 
ish possessions on the Mississipi. The idea has acquired so great a 
degree of consistency as to produce a representation on the subject from 
the Catholic King's Envoy here to the Ministers of the United States 
and a consequent note from Colonel Pickering to me of which last I have 
the honour of inclosing a copy. And, partly owing to this alarm, partly 
to the frequent journies of suspicious Frenchmen into the back settle- 
ments of the United States, orders have been sent by the Secretary at 
War to the Commanding officers of the American Garrisons on the fron- 
tiers not to permit any travellers to pass their posts or to frequent those 
interior parts of the Country (even though they are Citizens of the 
United States) except those persons who are authorised to do so by 
Treaty meaning the British Traders from Canada, who have a right to 
pass and repass freely for the sake of trade. 

This regulation, if strictly put in execution, might subject the author 
of the project himself, were he to return to the South Western Territory, 
to be refused admission and perhaps to be arrested, and it would be un- 
safe to trust him with any papers of consequence. 

I beg leave therefore to suggest to Your Lordship whether it would 
not be advisable in the first place to draw from him all the infor- 
mation he is capable of giving and then to send him back to this 
Country accompanied or followed by a Person in whose talents and in- 
tegrity our Government could place implicit confidence, who might in 
the first moment travel without suspicion as a Canadian Merchant, and 
afterwards act as circumstances might direct. 

1 Public Record Office, America 18. Compare Liston's disavowals and admissions 
in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 69, 71. Pickering gave Rufus King, 
our minister to England, an account of Blount's offense July 8 and August 5, 1797 
(King, Life and Coj'respondence of Rufus King, II, 196-197, 209-210, incompletely pub- 
lished). Letombe's despatch of July 18, I797> alleges that two of Liston's letters were 
subtracted at Pickering's instance from Romayne's papers {Report of American Histori- 
cal Association, 1903, II). 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ijgS 1797 589 

It is proper I should add, however, that reports are current here, and 
daily gaining credit. — That the French are soon to have possession of 
Louisiana, and that they are already planning improvements on the forti- 
fications and an increase of the garrisons on the banks of the Mississipi. 
I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect My Lord, 
Your Lordships Most Obedient Humble Servant 

Rob. Liston 

X. Robert Liston to Lord Grenville. 1 
No. 27 Philadelphia 24 1 !' June 1797 

My Lord 

I am much concerned that I did not receive Your Lordship's letter 
N'.' 6 in time to prevent M! Chisholm from setting sail for England. I 
have only now to request that Your Lordship will have the goodness to 
let him have his answer without delay and to direct him to return by the 
first opportunity to America both for the sake of appearances and that 
he may have no pretence for making claims on me for considerable sums 
of money for although I made him no promises of any kind yet as he 
had my consent to undertake the voyage I might not unnaturally find 
myself incommoded by his importunities on that head, were he to fall 
into difficulties in consequence of the protraction of his stay in London. 

As the representations made to me by the American Secretary of 
State at the suggestion of the Spanish Minister respecting the pretended 
preparations on the lakes for an expedition against Upper Louisiana had 
in the first instance received only a verbal and preliminary answer, the 
rejection of the plan in question upon motives so liberal and so friendly 
to the United States as those alleged in Your Lordship's dispatch afforded 
me the means of giving Colonel Pickering an official and definitive reply 
I put into his hands the note I have the honour to enclose, with which 
he appeared to be satisfied and I hope the conversation we afterwards 
had on the subject will prevent him from making a disclosure which 
appeared to have been hastily resolved on by the American Government 
and which might be attended with consequences in some measure un- 
favourable to the cause of Great Britain without producing any real 
advantage to the administration of this Country. 

It seems that some of the persons engaged in the project proposed to 
me, and communicated to Your Lordship, had been sufficiently imprudent 
either in consequence of intoxication, or by want of caution respecting 
their correspondence, to put it in the power of the American Ministers to 
get possession of proofs that there existed some plan of an expedition 
towards the Mississipi which was to originate in the Territories of the 
United States. The indications which had been discovered led to think 
that the enterprize was to be patronized by England. But Colonel 
Pickering has of late been so much accustomed to consider it as a fixed 
point that the French were to obtain possession of Louisiana, and he is 

1 Public Record Office, America IS. 

590 Documents 

so much persuaded that a measure immediately connected with this 
change of sovereignty must be an endeavour on the part of the Republick 
to excite disaffection and rebellion in the South Western Territories of 
the United States that he considered the attribution of the plan to British 
Agency or encouragement as a mere pretext to conceal the real springs 
of the operation. This idea had determined him in his present state of 
violent animosity against the French, to make a formal communication 
to the Congress of everything he had discovered ; and he was the more 
fixed in this resolution from the circumstance that a Member of the 
Senate of the name of Blount (deputed by the State of Tenessee) a man 
of an active and turbulent character, and unfriendly to the present 
administration, appeared to be one of the chief promoters of the enter- 

I have endeavoured to persuade Colonel Pickering and I flatter 
myself with some degree of success that a promulgation of the business 
in its present state would by no means be advisable. That it would 
furnish His Catholick Majesty's officers with a pretext for retaining the 
posts that were to be delivered up according to the late Treaty. That it 
would serve to throw an odium (however ill founded) on the British 
Nation which could be attended with no good effects to the Government 
of the United States, while on the other hand it would probably be im- 
possible to bring home any serious charge either to French Agents or the 
American Citizens who were implicated in the plot. That these last 
might find means to exculpate themselves by pretending that they had 
only in view the acquisition of rich lands on the banks of the Mississipi, 
in the event of that Country's being possessed by people of more tolerant 
and liberal principles than the Spaniards, but that they intended to take 
no active part without the permission of their own Government which 
the present conduct of the Spaniards in that quarter gave them reason to 
suppose would sooner or later be obtained. I added that a public accusa- 
tion would have the double effect of inviting ' the principal characters 
concerned in the plan and of putting them on their guard, whereas, 
since the American Ministry were now possessed of a clew of discovery, 
they might by adopting a system of forbearance have it in their power to 
watch the motions of these men and to prevent all danger. 

A few days will determine whether this reasoning has had its desired 

I have the honour to be, with greatest Respect My Lord 
Your Lordship's Most Obedient Humble Servant 

Rob. Liston 

1 Inciting? 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ijg^-Tjgj 591 

XI. Chevalier de Yrujo to Timothy Pickering. 1 

Mui S".'' mil). 

La publication que acaba de hacerse del Mensage secreto del 
Presidente de los Estados Unidos a las dos Camaras del Congreso con 
motivo del descuvrimiento de la Carta del Senador Blount a M! Carey, 
me ha hecho ver con gran sentimiento lo mui fundados que eran mis 
temores, comunicados a V. S. por mi en varias Cartas desde el principio 
de Marzo ultimo, acerca de la intention que los Ingleses tenian de atacar 
las Posesiones Espanolas en esta parte del Continente, violando el ter- 
ritorio de los Estados Unidos. 

La citada Carta del Coronel Blount no dexa la menor duda sobre 
un projecto tan hostil ; y siendo el Senador Blount no solo Ciudadano 
de los Estados Unidos, sino Miembro de su Govierno, y habiendo faltado 
con una conducta tan criminal no solo al Rey de Espana mi Amo sino a 
los Estados Unidos, debo pedir a V. S., como lo hago ahora del modo 
mas serio en nombre de S. M., la satisfaction correspondiente por tan 
escandaloso delito, imponiendosele toda la pena y castigo que las Leyes 
del Pays dicten para crimines semejantes. 

Ofrezco a V. S. mis deseos de complacerle, y de que Ntfo S° r gue su 
vida m 8 a s 

Philadelphia 6 de Julio de 1797 2 
Q. B. S. M° de V. S. 

su mas at" y seg? Serv"/ 

Carlos Mr inz de Yrujo 
ST D" Timoteo Pikering — 

[Indorsement .•] Chev. de Yrujo 6 July 1797. rec'! 7. congratulatory on 
discovery of Blount's plot, and requesting he may be punished according 
to the laws of the US. 

1 Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Notes to Department, Spain, 
volume I. In the letter of Pickering to Yrujo, August 8, 1797 Pickering says of this 
letter : " But it is well known that Mr. Blount was your frequent guest and intimate com- 
panion, and that he was on this intimate footing with you during the whole time that you 
were representing to the Government your suspicions of British expeditions. Yet, after 
the discovery of the conspiracy was made public, you formally requested the American 
Government to punish him for so scandalous a crime. But seeing Mr. Blount was a citi- 
zen of the United States, and not a subject of Spain, it would have been decent in you 
to have left him with his own Government without interposing your advice. But espe- 
cially when you knew that the President had laid his letter before Congress, and the two 
Houses were deliberating on the modes of punishing him; when the investigation had 
proceeded so far that a committee of the Senate had reported a resolution to expel Mr. 
Blount from the Senate, and a committee of the House had reported a resolution that he 
should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors : for you then to interfere was 
singularly improper ; and it was such an ostentatious display of zeal as, under all the 
known circumstances, suggests more than one interpretation." Annals of Fifth Con- 
gress, III, 3218. 

£ On July 11 Yrujo wrote again to Pickering ; the letter is published ibid., 3154- 
3162. In writing to Rufus King, August 5, 1797 (letter published in extract in King, 
Life and Correspondence of Jiufus King, II, 209-210), Pickering says : "I inclose a 
letter from the Spanish Minister, the Chevalier de Yrujo to me, dated the 1 1 11 .' Ult. His 

592 Documents 

( Translation) 

The publication lately made of the secret message from the Presi- 
dent of the United States to both Houses of Congress on the discovery 
of the letter from Senator Blount to M^ Carey, has caused me to feel 
with great emotion how well founded were my fears communicated to 
you by my sundry letters from the first of March last relative to the 
intention which the English had to attack the Spanish possessions in that 
part of the Continent, by violating the territory of the US. 

The said letter from Colonel Blount does not leave the least doubt on 
so hostile a project ; and Senator Blount being not only a citizen of the 
US. but a member of its Government, and having failed in so criminal 
a piece of conduct, not only the King of Spain my master but the US. 
should request from you, 1 as I now do in the most serious manner in the 
name of His Majesty, a satisfaction proportioned to so scandalous a 
crime, by inflicting on him all the pains and punishments which the laws 
of the Country dictate for such crimes. 

Professing my wishes to serve you, and that God may preserve your 
life many years 

I am sir, your most ob' serv' 
Carlos M. de Yrujo 
Phil* July 6. i 797. 
Timothy Pickering Esq! 

XII. Roi.ert Liston to [Lord Grenville].' 2 

Philadelphia 8 July 1797 
My Lord 

'The. proofs alluded to in my letter N° 27 of the Existence of a plan 
concerted by certain inhabitants of the United States for an attack on 
the Spanish territories in North America in favour of Great Britain, con- 
statements are as erroneous and his reasoning as feeble, as his stile and expressions are 
rude and unbecoming a diplomatic Character. My other engagements have been two 
[«V] numerous and too urgent hitherto to write him an answer. Two or three days 
since I began an examination of it, and shall finish it as soon as more important business 
will permit. This answer perhaps the President may lay before Congress at the next 
Session; and in that case it may be published. [See Annals of Fiftli Congress, III, 
3199-3219, for Pickering to Yrujo, August 8, 1797, his answer to Yrujo's letter of July 
II.] The Spanish Minister procured M; Bache to print the inclosed pamphlet containing 
his letter, and also sent it to the Editor of Porcupine's Gazette for publication ; by the 
time that I had got the original translated. The Editor commented on the letter, and 
made remarks on the Minister, his Nation, and the King of Spain, in such terms as in- 
duced the Minister formally to request a prosecution against him ; which in deference to 
his Catholic Majesty, the President thought fit to direct." 

1 This passage should of course read, " and having been at fault in a proceeding so 
criminal not only toward the king of Spain, my master, but also toward the United 
States, I must ask of you ", etc. A letter of Yrujo to Pickering, May 24, 1797, com- 
plains of the inexact translations published by the Department of State, Annals of Fijth 
Congress, III, 3082-3083. 

2 Public Record Office, America 18. 

Documents on the Blotint Conspiracy, 1795-1797 593 

sisted of an intercepted letter written by Ml William Blount (formerly 
Governor of the district of Tenesee, and lately elected Senator for that 
New State) directed to a person of the name of Carey, an Indian inter- 
preter in the pay of the United States residing in the South Western Set- 
tlements of this Country 

In this letter M! Blount unbosoms himself without reserve on the 
subject of the project suggested to me through Captain Chisholm [(]in 
which it appears that he expected to sustain a principal part) and he 
instructs his friend to contribute towards the success of the plan by 
endeavouring to secure the co-operation of the Indians, and in particular 
to increase his (Blount's) interest and consequence among them without 
any regard to the delicacy of the means to be employed.' 

It was — from the first moment that the matter was mentioned to 
me — and it still is my opinion that it would have been more consistent 
with the dignity, the tranquility, and the real interest of the American 
Government to have suppressed all mention of this discovery — and I had 
flattered myself that I had brought over Colonel Pickering to the same 
sentiments. But the business struck the President in a different light. 
He looked forward to the possible explosion of the plot by other means 
and to the blame that might eventually fall on him for throwing a veil 
over a project calculated to favour a nation towards whom his enemies 
already accuse him of entertaining a culpable partiality. And the ad- 
ministration no doubt thought that the disgrace of a man who had been 
vehemently opposed to the measures of Government would have some 
effect in humbling and weakening the democratick party in general. 
M' Adams therefore resolved to communicate the business together with 
other matters in a confidential message to the two Houses of Congress 
and to leave them to take such measures on the occasion as they might 
think expedient. 

I have the honour of enclosing a printed Copy of that Message with 
the documents referred to which relate chiefly to the increasing difficul- 
ties that have arisen respecting the surrender of the Spanish posts on the 
frontiers and to the danger of an Indian war. The letter of Governor 
Blount is No XVIII the last in the Collection. 

The Secretary of State gave me an opportunity by the enclosed cor- 
respondence 2 of exculpating myself and the British Government of any 
degree of blame in this business. I have stated to Colonel Pickering 
with perfect truth that I had assured the speculators who applied to me 
here that I could give no encouragement to the plan. The fact is that al- 
though I did not chuse to take upon me to reject altogether an idea of 
such importance, and which I believe the United States themselves would 
have been glad to see carried into execution, if it could have been effected 

'See the letter in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, IT, 7^~77- ^ is 
dated April 21, 1797, and was communicated to Congress by the President July 3, 1797. 
1 See ibid., 69-71. 

594 Documents 

with a rapid success, — yet I felt all the difficulty and danger of the enter- 
prize which I stated to Captain Chisholm with more force than I have ex- 
pressed in my reports on the subject to Your Lordship and it was with 
no small reluctance that I yielded at last to his earnest intreaties to be 
allowed to make a journey to Europe. 

The violent partisans of the democratick faction, who have since my 
arrival at Philadelphia observed with regret my anxious endeavour to 
promote a good understanding between Great Britain and America, and 
the degree of success with which they have been attended, were eager, on 
the first indistinct report which was spread respecting this business, to 
asperse my character, and Calumniate my intentions with regard to this 
Country and they shewed an inclination to carry their enmity to all pos- 
sible lengths on the occasion. The explanations I have given appear, 
however to be generally considered as satisfactory and if any unfavour- 
able impression has been made by the first aspect of the affair there is 
reason to hope it will be equally slight and transitory. 

It is singular enough that Governor Blount is a man whom I have 
never seen and with whom I have had no communication either direct 
or circuitous. I did not even know till I read his letter that he was one 
of the persons concerned in the plan. M' Chisholm used to mention him 
as a man of weight and influence in the back Country whom it would be 
essential to gain but he seemed to doubt the possibility of securing him. 

It also appears from Blount's letters that there has been a branch of 
the project with which I have not been acquainted for I have no knowl- 
edge of the man of consequence who is said to have gone to England. 
At all events it is evident that the idea must now be wholly renounced 
unless the United States should come to a breach with the Court of Spain 
of which indeed there seems to be some degree of probability. 

I cannot conclude without observing with regret that there is a degree 
of disingenuity and a disposition to intrigue and chicanery in the con- 
duct of M. Yrujo the Spanish Minister in this Country which is highly 
disagreeable and may become dangerous to us. He has already produced 
in the most formal way a pretended plan for an expedition from Canada 
which never had existence. He now talks with perfect assurance of cer- 
tain offers made by the English to a General Clarke in Georgia, which I 
conceive to be equally destitute of foundation ; and I understand he is 
proceeding to bring forward other heads of accusation more gross and 
equally groundless, which are unfortunately received with pleasure and 
perhaps with sincere belief by the malignant or ill informed supporters 
of the French and Democratick parties in the United Kingdom 
I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect 

My Lord, Your Lordships, Most Obedient Humble Servant 
Rob. Liston 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ijg^-ijgj 595 

XIII. Statement of Chisholm to Rufus King. 

The Declaration of John D. Chisholm.' 

I arrived in New York while the British Army were in possession of 
it ; — having a Father residing in Charleston South Carolina, I went to him 
in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven. I went 
from thence a few months after my arrival in Charleston to Savannah in 
Georgia, remained there a few weeks ; from thence I proceeded to S! Aug- 
istine, remained there about two weeks, and from thence I proceeded to 
Pensacola ; there I continued until the Spaniards took possession of the 
Country, I think in the same year or early in the year one thousand 
seven hundred and seventy eight ; from thence I was obliged to fly to 
the Indian Country where I found Protection from Alexander M c Gill- 
veray and others. I remained in the Creek Nation about three months, 
then went to the Cherokee Nation, and remained there a few weeks 
when I got acquainted with one Roach, Harling, and other Indian 
Traders from the Frontiers of the United States ; with them I came into 
that part of the Country called then the Settlement of Holstien, now the 
State of Tennessee, from hence I traded with the Indians and often went 
to them from the Inhabitants to ask for Prisoners ; in this way I contin- 
ued till Colonel William Blount was appointed Governor of that State. 
I established a permanent Home at Knoxville where I was employed by 
Colonel Blount, the first time was to bring Goods for the Treaty of 
Holstien, and afterwards to bring the Indians to said Treaty, and con- 
tinued to act for him on many occasions carrying Indians to and from 
Philadelphia ; the last time in taking the Indians to Philadelphia, and in 
the month of November 2 1796 arrived there — At this period I brought 
with me to Philadelphia a Petition from British Subjects residing in the 
Indian Nations, signed by myself and (I think) about twenty five others, 
requesting to be admitted Citizens of the United States ; this Petition I 
presented to the Honorable James M'Henry Secretary at War who treated 
it with coolness and said he would refer it to M r Hawkins who had been 
appointed Superintendant of Indian affairs — I had conceived myself 
entitled to some notice and employment under the United States from 
the Services I had rendered in consequence of my influence with the 

1 Department of State, Bureau of Indexes and Archives, Despatches, England, 
volume 5. For Chisholm' s personal traits see the evidence in Blount's trial, particularly 
Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2357, 2366-2368. " He was a hardy, lusty, brawny, 
weather-beaten man ", given to drink and brag. It is important to read this document in 
connection with the explanations and additional information in King, Life and Correspond- 
ence of Rufus King, II, 217-218, 253-258. King's letter of October 31, 1797 (ibid., 
236-237), gives an ingenious conjecture of a connection between Romayne, Yrujo, 
Las Casas, De Moustier, and Blount in a western land speculation. Liston's relation to 
the Pulteney land speculations in the Genesee country, and Dr. Romayne's connection 
with Sir William Pulteney are shown by other documents. 

2 According to John Franklin (see Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2380-2381), 
Chisholm stopped at George Lesher' s tavern, 94 North Second street, Philadelphia, with 
about twenty-two Cherokee Indians. Rogers and Carey were also there. For particu- 
lars see text cited. 

596 Documents 

Indians, and had very frequent promises from Colonel Blount to that 
effect. At the time I left the Indian Country with this Petition which 
was the Twenty first day of September one thousand seven hundred and 
ninety six, the signers to this Petition, with myself and the principal Chiefs 
who accompanied me to Philadelphia had come to the determination 
that in case the same or similar Protection and Encouragement was not 
given them to that they received under the British Government they had 
formed a Plan to attack the Spanish Settlements, namely the Province of 
West Florida and Louisiana : Finding our Prospects not to our wishes in 
Philadelphia, I applied to M. r Liston the British Minister (I think about 
the latter end of November 1796) and laid open to him the plan ver- 
bally ; he answered that he would take it into consideration and give me 
an answer at a given day ; three or four days afterwards I called upon 
him, according to appointment, and he informed me that he had no 
Powers to go into a business of this kind ; that he had objections to it 
on account of the Indians being engaged in it ; that it was objectionable 
also on account of the neutrality of the United States. — I had frequent 
interviews with him afterwards in one of which he said that if I would 
deliver him the Plan he would send it to his own Government. I de- 
livered him the Plan in writing without mentioning any of my American 
connexions. — I waited for some Months, that is from November till 
March, when being tired of waiting longer, I determined on coming to 
England ; this determination I communicated to M r Liston ' and asked him 
to give me Letters to this Country ; he accordingly gave me Letters to 
Lord Grenville, Mr Dundas and Mr Hammond 2 saying "that the Bearer 
was the person mentioned in former Letters etc :' " — this I think was 
nearly the purport of them which he shewed me before they were sealed ; 
he also gave me another Letter to some person concerned in the East 
India Company sealed, which I suppose was of a private nature ; the 
persons name I do not recollect. — M' Liston also gave me a Letter to a 
Ml Gavett 3 of Hamburgh at my own instance, in case I was taken by 
the French to act as a blind or as a Letter of Introduction as occasion 
might occur. 4 On my arrival in England I delivered the Letters to Lord 
Grenville, M'. Dundas and M! Hammond at Lord Grenville's Office ; three 
or four clays after this I received a Note from the Secretary of M' Dun- 
das requesting me to call at that Office. I called and was informed that 
I must state my Propositions in writing which I did a few days after- 
wards and they were in substance nearly the same as those delivered to 
M' Liston with the addition of the many Friends to the Plan, Citizens 
of the United States, but I did not mention names ; I had a copy of it 
where I formerly lodged which shall be forthcoming if in my power. — 
After remaining here about six or eight weeks and calling frequently at 

' Ibid., 2352. 

2 Ibid. , 2368. 

3 J. II. Goverts ; letter in King, Correspondence, II, 198. 
' Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2367. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, 1795-1797 597 

Lord Grenville's Office, I was at length informed that the Government 
declined going into the business'; a Draft was delivered me for One 
hundred Pounds to pay my expences back to America and a Pass (by 
my Request) which is in the French Language, to return to America. 
After my arrival in Philadelphia in November One thousand seven 
hundred and ninety six, I communicated the Plan to Colonel William 
Blount who immediately agreed to give it all his aid and influence ; I 
saw him frequently afterwards at his House in Chesnut Street and 
talked with him on the business ; I communicated the matter also to a Mf 
Ingraham who lodged at the same house with me (Lasher's 2 Tavern N° 
92 North Second Street) who said he was a British Subject, and through 
him I was introduced to a certain Lewis Collins 3 a person said to be 
concerned in the Stages ; this last Man as well as the other agreed to give 
the Plan their assistance, and he (Collins) said that he would go to Boston 
where he could raise One hundred stout Yankees and would load two 
Vessels with Provisions and take them round to the Floridas and join 
me ; I then promised him that on those Conditions he should be ap- 
pointed a Commissary and also have Commissions for himself and his 
friends; I left him in Philadelphia, and have heard nothing of him or 
Ingraham since I left Philadelphia I think in the month of January one 
thousand seven hundred and ninety seven and proceeded to New York 
in company with Captain John Rodgers formerly a Captain in the British 
Army, James Cary Indian Interpreter, four Creek and four Cherokee 
Chiefs, and took up my Lodgings at James Bradleys N? 1. Gold Street 
where I became acquainted with a M. r Nicholas 4 and a Mr Morris who 
I found was a British Subject from Kingston Jamaica, and had gone 
there on some Mercantile business ; Nicholas I think said he was from 
New Haven ; they both approved of the Plan. Morris said that if I 
succeeded with the British Government, he would assist all in his power 
by advancing Money on my Drafts in the West Indies or otherwise and 
Nicholas said that he would assist in providing Vessels to carry ammuni- 
tion etc? ; while in New York I also became acquainted with a certain 
John Mitchell ° who I understood was a Surveyor and largely concerned 
in Land Speculations and who I found had a good knowledge of the 
Country, particularly the Upper Spanish Posts on the Mississippi ; this 
man came to me in Philadelphia and gave me to understand that he had 
heard from my Friends Morris and Nicholas our Plan. After several 
interviews in which he pointed out that he could be of material service, I 
agreed with him that if we succeeded with the British Government he 
should be commissioned ; in one of our interviews he proposed a certain 

'King, Correspondence, II, 218. 

2 I.esher. 

'Captain Collins of Marbleliead, Massachusetts, King, Correspondence, II, 255. 

1 A ship-owner of New Haven, who sent vessels to New Orleans, ibid. 

5 See answerto question 19, p. 604. Compare Report of American Historical Associa- 
tion, iSq6, I, 1027, 1029; King, Correspondence, II, 255; Collot, Journey, II, 67; 
and Collot' s letter of April 15, 1797, number VIII, ante, pp. 585-587. 

598 Documents 

Major Craig formerly of the American Army, and who I understood lived 
about thirty or forty miles from Philadelphia (he was a stout man of 
about Six feet high about forty or perhaps forty five years of age) Mit- 
chell often brought Craig to see me but I always evaded talking 
with him on the Subject ; however I told Mitchell that as I had 
confidence in him he might promise to Craig that he should be em- 
ployed ; about the month of February last a certain Colonel James 
Orr of the State of Tennessee came to Philadelphia who I had known 
before and who lodged in the same house with me ; in the course 
of conversation I informed him of our Plan to which he gave his hearty 
concurrence, and said that he could procure as many Men in his own 
State as he pleased and that he could be joined by Colonel Whiteley with 
a thousand Men from Kentucky if 1 said the word, as they always under- 
stood each other.' — While I was in the Indian Country in the Summer 
of ninety six I wrote by direction of the Indian Chiefs Circular Letters 
respecting the Peace which was expected to take place between them and 
the United States. Among these were Letters sent to the Kings and 
Chiefs of the Northern Tribes ; Brandt and Cornplanter arrived too late 
for the Treaty, accompanied by Captain Johnston, Captain Stedman, 2 
M r . Street (a Member of Assembly for Upper Canada) and a M r . Joseph 
Smith 3 Indian Interpreter for the United States (Johnston and Stedman 
are both from Canada) I communicated to all those Persons, except 
Smith who we were afraid to trust ; and all agreed to give their aid 
excepting Cornplanter who observed that as he was now surrounded by 
White People he wanted to learn his People to live at peace, but if any 
of his young men chose to follow his Friend, alluding to Brandt he could 
not prevent them. Afterwards I wrote Brandt and Johnston that I had 
embarked for'England and they should hear from me — I also communi- 
cated at Philadelphia the plan to a M'. John Hilsman a Merchant in 
Knoxville who had come to Philadelphia (in March last) by him I sent 
Letters to my friends with the English and Spanish Declarations of war 
the Treaty between the United States and Spain and said that " they 
would hold themselves in readiness till they should see me" — I sent 
about fifty of the Declarations under cover to Captain John Rogers who 
was then with the Cherokee Nation and who was to deliver them to the 
different Persons who signed the Petition to the Americans mentioned in 
the first part of this Declaration and whose names as far as I can recollect 
are John M" Daniel, James Lesslie, Joseph Higgins, Robert Grason, 
John Clark, Daniel M°. Gillveray, John O' Kelly, William Thompson, 
Malcolm M" Gee, James Kemp (M?Daniels' name was not to the Peti- 
tion) ; however the Petition which is with the Secretary of war will speak 
for itself as to Signatures ; but as very many of them knew nothing of 
our Plan I will mention the names of those, who did know it and who 

' See King, Correspondence, II, 255. 
2 Ibid. 
» Ibid. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, ijg^-ijgj 599 

agreed to give their aid — Daniel M'Gillveray, James Lesslie, Joseph 
Higgins, Robert Grayson, John Clark, John O' Kelly, William Thompson, 
Malcolm M? Gee, James Kemp, John O'Rietty, Francis Lesslie, John 
Steel ; all those persons I have conferred with myself on the business, 
also with James Colbert — Cap' Rodgers who I have already mentioned, 
informed me that he had mentioned the plan to a certain Spaniard 
(whose name I do not at present recollect) who had run from the 
Spanish Garrison at Pensacola and taken refuge among the Indians ; 
he had been employed as a Rider and Interpreter by the Spaniards and 
spoke all the Indian Languages. — I think his name is Antonio Gomaza 
or something like it. I have often seen him and we used to call him 
Tonio ; however I know him to be the Identical Person who the Spaniards 
sent into the Indian Country in ninety five with Letters to the Indian 
Chiefs of the Chicksaws and Choptaws requesting them to make Peace 
with the Creek Nation ; the reason of Rodgers' mentioning their Plan 
to the Spaniard was I suppose in consequence of his belief that he would 
now assist them, as he had deserted from the Spaniards, and indeed he 
agreed to join in it — this Captain Rogers came to Philadelphia with me 
in November ninety six, as an Interpreter, and was brought at the Insti- 
gation of the Dogwere ' the King of the Creek Nation and myself, and is 
very friendly to the United States ; There also came with me to Phila- 
delphia, Malcolm M'.'Gee formerly British Interpreter and John Pitchlen 
who were both acquainted with and were to join in the plan — there was 
a certain person named Cobb who resided at the Natchez who came into 
the Indian Country, and I have been well informed that he was acquainted 
with the plan from some quarter. I recollect meeting at Philadelphia 
with a Person who called himself Blackburn to whom I mentioned the 
Plan ; he said at first that he should have no objection to join in it pro- 
vided the United States were concerned, but damned the British having 
any thing to do in it ; he was well acquainted with Blount, as he informed 
me, and afterwards he said to me if you go on with your Plan I intend to 
join you; he resides in Richmond in Virginia as he said — the last time 
I saw Colonel Blount was sometime in March last previous to my sailing 
from America which was the Twenty first day of that month 2 ; he said 
to me that he wanted me to be gone into the Indian Country and mind 
the business there ; that he had been in New York, and while there had 
communicated with Doctor Romain 3 and that they had agreed to carry 

1 Dog Warrior, of the Natchez ? 

2 See Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2367-2369. 

3 Dr. Nicholas Romayne, who figures prominently in the documents printed in con- 
nection with the trial of Blount, was in London in March, 1796, whero Liston made his 
acquaintance. Liston gave Pickering an account of his relations with Romayne to show 
that they were free from an intrigue ( Pickering papers, in the Massachusetts Historical 
Society, Pickering's statement of July 26, 1797, VI, 467 ; see also VII, 93). There is, 
however, evidence in the Chatham papers that Romayne had been an agent of the 
British government. It is probable that additional material exists in the Public Record 
Office regarding the connection of Liston and Chisholm. 

600 Documents 

on the plan on a much larger Scale than I had contemplated 1 ; and 
added that if it took place he must be well paid for it, or he must make 
large sacrifices in America — At the time I held a talk with the Indians 
in ninety five by directions of Blount there was a French Man there at 
the same time sent by the Governor of Pensacola (as he said); his name 
was John Louis Treville or Trevill ; I had no conversation with him 
as I did not speak Spanish or French, and he did not speak 
English — I arrived in this Country in the Ship John Henderson ; there 
were no other Passengers on board, except a certain Charles Jacob Het- 
ter z from Lancaster Pensylvania and a Woman. I never mentioned the 
plan to Hetter ; he once asked me since I arrived whether I was con- 
cerned in a plan with Blount, and brought me the American Papers giv- 
ing an account of Blounts Conduct — I could be more particular of 
names and other matters respecting the Spanish Garrisons was I in a 
situation to have access to my Papers which are in a small Trunk which 
I left in Philadelphia in the House of M*. Liston under the care of Mf 
Thornton his Secretary — I shall be willing to make Oath when required 
to the truth of the foregoing and answer any Questions which may be put 
to me respecting this business, and have made this Declaration in pres- 
ence of Major David Lenox. — On being asked a question by Major 
Lenox I answer that in the winter of ninety five I met a person of the 
name of Fulton 3 (who told me that he was a Colonel of Horse in the 
French Service) between the Towns of the Creek and the Cherokee 
Nations, he told me that he had come from France in order to get the 
Indians Consent for the establishment of a Republic in the Floridas as 
they the French were to take it or to get it (I don't recollect which) from 
the Spaniards ; as I was friendly to the United States I advised him to 
leave the Country as soon as possible which I believe he did, as I have 
not heard of him since ; the said Fulton is a tall handsome man, upwards 
of Six feet high, well mounted and handsomely equipped in every parti- 
cular, appeared to be about twenty five years of age. 
London 29 th November 1797. 

John D Chisholm 

XIV. Outline of Chisholm' s Plan. 

The General Outlines of the Plan referred to in my Declaration of 
the Twenty ninth day of November one thousand seven hundred and 
ninety seven, were as follows. 4 — 

Brant and his Associates were to be joined at an agreed point on the 
Ohio by Mitchell and Craig with such men as they should have collected 
on the Frontiers of New York and Pensylvania — this Party were to at- 

1 Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2356-2365, especially the important conversation 
on p. 2358. 

2 Christian Jacob Huetter ; see ibid., 2567; King, Correspondence, 11,217-218. 

3 American Historical Review, X, 270. 

'Compare Collot's letter of April 15, 1797, number VIII, ante, and Journey, II, 
65-66, and George Rogers Clark's letter of March 2, 1797 ( Baron Marc de Villiers du 
Terrage, Les Demieres Amicus de la Louisiana Francaise, 362-363). 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, 1795 J 797 601 

tack New Madrid, leave a Garrison in it, and proceed to the Head of the 
Red River and take possession of the Silver Mines. Mitchell and Craig 
with their Associates were to descend the Ohio in the character of Traders. 

The People of Tennessee, Whitley's Men from Kentucky, with those 
of the Natchez and the Choctaws were to attack New Orleans ; no pre- 
cise arrangement was made concerning the Command of this Party ; but 
I suppose it would be headed by Blount. 

The Cherokees and Creeks with the white men of Florida, who were 
to join, were, under my Command, to take Pensacola ; the attack on New 
Madrid, New Orleans and Pensacola to be made on the same day. 

We made no arrangement concerning East Florida, conceiving that 
it would fall of course after we had obtained Possession of West Florida. 

My demand of Great Britain was their Countenance of my Plan and 
a moderate advance of money ; — that a naval force of Six frigates should 
be sent to block up the Harbour of Pensacola, 1 and the Mouth of the 
Mississippi ; that British Commissions should be given to me and the Per- 
sons engaged in the expedition ; — in case of success that the Floridas with 
Louisiana should be put upon the antient footing of a British Colony ; — 
that I should be employed as the British Superintendant of Indian affairs ; 
that public money and personal property should be equally divided between 
the Crown and the Captors; — that each private Soldier should receive 
from the Crown a grant of a thousand acres of Land ; that Pensacola and 
New Orleans should be declared free Ports, and the navigation of Mis- 
sissippi should for ever remain free to the People of Great Britain, and 
the United States. — We had no intention of attacking the Spanish Ports 
within the Territory of the United States. — 

John D Chisholm 

XV. Report of Examination of Chisholm by Rufus King. 
Questions proposed by Rufus King and Answered by John D. Chis- 
holm, — at the House and in the presence of Major David Lenox, on 
the Fifth day of December one thousand seven hundred and ninety seven. 
Question 1" Did you communicate your plan to Blount before or after 
communicating it to Liston ; if before was Blount privy to your 
communication of it to Liston? 
Answer. I communicated the Plan first to Blount — Soon after I came to 

Philadelphia I told him that unless I succeeded as to myself and 
ffriends in our Expectations from the United States which I com- 
municated to him that we had resolved to apply to the British 
Government to which Blount answered that we were perfectly 
right. — After I found that my Petition delivered to the Secretary 
of War was coldly received I informed Blount of my determination 
to apply to Mr Liston which he approved and agreed to support the 

1 Letombe, July 18, 1797, takes it as being generally known that Admiral Reckett, 
who was just then cruising at the mouth of the Mississippi, would lead the attack in the 
south, while General Simcoe would be at the head of operations in the north. 
AM. HIST. REV., VOL. x. — 39. 



Question 2. 


Question 3. 

Question 4. 


Question 5. 

Question 6. 


Question 7. 


Question 8 


Wbs Blount present at any Conference between you and 
Liston ? 

No, he never was present at any such Conference ; it was not 
my practice on any occasion to converse concerning my Plan 
with two Persons at the same time — No person was ever present 
at any Conference between me and Liston. 

In what manner did Liston receive your Plan ? 

He objected to it on two grounds ; one that it proposed the 
Employment of the Indians, and the other that it might affect the 
neutrality of the United States. 

Did you inform Liston that Blount was privy to or engaged 
in the Plan ? 

I never named Blount or any other Citizen of the United States 
to Liston ; but I gave him to understand that some persons in 
Office under them would support and join in the Plan. 

What part did you suppose the Government of the United 
States would take in case your plan was attempted ? 

I supposed that they would talk, but not act, against us. 

Had you any expectation of support from any other person 
besides Blount in the Government of the United States ? 

I thought it probable, tho' I never had any conversation upon 
the Subject with any Member of Congress except Blount, that 
some of the Members who owned Lands on the Western Waters, 
would favor my plan — I founded this opinion on the belief that 
they would follow their interest which would be advanced by 
clearing the navigation of the Mississippi, and making New Orleans 
and Pensacola free Ports; — these points, being part of my plan, 
we supposed would influence the Frontier People to join us. 

Do you know whether Blount communicated the Plan to any 
person except Romaine? 

I do not know that he did ; he once said to me that he must 
be well paid by the British and added that if his Brothers knew 
the plan they would forsake him for ever. My conversations with 
Blount were always private, and without witnesses ; but he one 
day sent his little Son to ask me to come to his House in the Even- 
ing. — On my coming into the room instead of finding him alone 
as usual I found M 1 . Jefferson and General Wilkinson at Table with 
him (it being after Dinner) It immediately struck me, but I 
might have been wrong, that Blount had sent for me in order to 
open my Plan to these Gentlemen — this I did not incline to do, 
and after sitting a few Minutes, made an excuse to go away by say- 
ing that I had an appointment with the Secretary of War ; and 
tho' Blount urged me to stay I went away. 

What objection had you to have opened your Plan to M' Jeffer- 
son and General Wilkinson, had Blount desired it ? 

As both these Characters were in high Offices, I did not know 
but Blount might intend to entrap me, and I therefore determined 

Documents on the Blotmt Conspiracy, ijg^-ijgy 603 

in case he wished them to know the plan, that he should disclose 
it himself ' 
Question 9 Had you any expectation of assistance from any Officer in the 

American Army ? 
Answer No, — I sought on several occasions to sound some of the 
Officers who were in Philadelphia, but I never found an opening 
to mention my Plan to any one of them. 
Question 10. Did Orr, named in the Declaration, know that Blount was 

engaged in the plan ? 
Answer He might have known it from Blount, but did not from me. 
Question 1 1 . What was the object of your Journey to New York ? 

Answer Merely to gratify the Indians, who desired to see the other City, 
and who had also heard that they could obtain there better wampum 
than at Philadelphia 
Question 12. What was the Object of the Circular Letters to the Northern 

Answer. To invite them to attend at Philadelphia to witness the Peace ; 

and in case we concluded to undertake my Plan, to engage them 
to co-operate. 
Question 13. Did you communicate the Plan to the Indians sent from the 

several Tribes to meet you at Philadelphia, and if so did they en- 
gage to join you? 
Answer. I did communicate it to them all, and they all, except the 
Corn Planter, engaged to join us. 
Question 14. Did Liston know that Brandt and his Canada Associates were 
consulted, and that they had engaged? 
Answer I never mentioned it to Liston, nor do I know that he knew it — 
Brant was with Liston more than once, but I do not know what 
passed on these occasions. 
Question 15. Had Brant and his Associates arrived at Philadelphia before you 
went to New York ? 
Answer No. They had not arrived. 
Question 16. By whom and how did you send your Letters from New York 
to Brant ? 
Answer. By a man whose name was Cozins or Cummins who knew noth- 
ing of my Plan nor of the Contents of my Letters, but who being 
bound to Canada engaged to forward my Letters from Albany. 
Question 17. Had Blount any knowledge of your intention to come to Eng- 

land ? 
Answer. I na d suspected and especially after Blount had told me that he 

and Romaine had agreed to carry on the Plan on a much larger 
Scale, that Blount wished to throw me aside. I therefore did not 
let him know of my determination to come to England. 1 
Question 18. Did you ever see or converse with Romayne? 

1 See Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2359; American State Papers, Foreign Re- 
lations, II, 76. 

604 Documents 

Answer I knew Romayne four years ago in New York, and then con- 
versed much with him, and at his request gave him a Description 
which he wrote down of the Western Country with which I was ac- 
quainted. — I saw him when I was last at New York, but I never 
conversed with him respecting my Plan 
Question 19. Was Mitchell, with whom you became acquainted at New York, 

named John! 
Answer He told me his name was John — he was a New England man 
who was a Surveyor, and had been at New Orleans. 
Question 20. Did you know d'Yrujo the Spanish Minister? 

Answer. Yes. I did know him. 

Question 21. Where did you ever meet him ? 

Answer. At Kidds, a Lodging House near the President's, where I went 

to see Mr Blackburn mentioned in my Declaration. 
Question 22 Had D'Yrujo any knowledge of your Plan? 

Answer. I do not know that he had. 

Question 23. Had you no fears that he would discover it? 

Answer. No, for I did not think much of his understanding. 

Question 24. Had you any intention to ask the assistance of the French ; or 

had you any reason to think that your Plan was known by the 
French agents in America? 
Answer. I never intended to have any thing to do with the French, and 

I have no reason to believe that they knew any thing about the Plan. 
Question 25 What part did you suppose the people of Georgia and South 

Carolina would take in regard to your Plan ? 
Answer. I supposed that the Frontier People would generally join in. 

Quest? 26. Was Blount privy to your engaging Brant and the Canadians ? — 

Did he ever see Brant or Street ? 
Answer. At Blounts request I one Evening carried Brant and the Corn 

Planter to his House, but we did not speak of our plan. Blount 
knew from me that Brant and his Associates were engaged in the 
Question 27 What has been your Treatment in England? 

Answer. I brought Letters to Mr Dundas and Lord Grenville and 

M r Hammond and M r Moor — I have never seen either Lord Gren- 
ville or M r Dundas. — After going to Lord Grenvilles Office many 
times, I was finally informed by Moor one of his Clerks that the 
British Government would not adopt my Plan, and that Lord 
Grenville had ordered me to be paid One hundred Pounds to enable 
me to return. I said I had expended Two thousand five Hundred 
Dollars, and that the One Hundred Pounds would not get me home 
again — Moor replied that that was all he had been authorized to 
pay me — -I said then it must be so — After this Conversation Mr 
Moor sent me Twenty five Pounds more. 1 

'See Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2369-2370; King, Correspondence, II 
216-218, 253-256. 

Documents on the Blount Conspiracy, iyg^—iygy 605 

Question 28. — Have you been able to recover the copy of the Plan mentioned 
in your declaration as having been given in by you to the British 
Government ? 
Answer. No, The person in whose hands I left it, destroyed it upon the 

Publication in the English Papers of Blounts Letter to Carey. 
Question 29. Did Liston encourage your coming to England or advance you 

money for your passage ? 
Answer. He advised me to wait till he received an answer, but finding 

me resolved on coming to England he consented, but he never ad- 
vanced to me any money 

John D Chisholm 

XVI. Affidavit of Rufus King. 
London December 9* 1797. — This Day John D. Chisholm made 
Solemn Oath to the truth of the foregoing, Declaration, dated the twenty 
ninth day of November one thousand seven hundred and ninety seven ; to 
the truth of the Paper called the General Outlines of his Plan ; and like- 
wise to the truth of the Answers by him made to the foregoing Twenty 
nine Interrogatories, all which are by him Subscribed with his name, Be- 
fore me 

Rufus King Min. plenip. of the U S. of Amer : to Great-Britain 

XVII. Robert Liston to Lord Grenville. 1 

Philadelphia 5 December 1797 

The Committee of the House of Representatives appointed towards 
the close of the last Session to draw up articles of impeachment against 
M*. Blount and to call for persons, papers, and records made their report 
yesterday, which with the documents accompanying it has been read in 
the House and is ordered to be printed. Although the report with the 
accompanying papers is voluminous, little additional light has been 
thrown upon this transaction, and as the plans of the parties concerned 
were never brought into action it is not probable that any further dis- 
coveries can be made 

From the beginning it appears that M. de Yrujo has been indefatigable 
in his exertions to discover any circumstances which might serve to impli- 
cate His Majesty's Minister or the American Secretary of State, and he 
has not only on several occasions sent persons to the Committee (whose 
evidence has been contradicted in the most essential particulars) but he 
has corresponded (and sometimes there is room to suspect anonymously) 
with that body. 

Whatever may be his motives of personal resentment against M" 
Liston (it is not difficult to find the causes of his animosity and revenge 
against Colonel Pickering) his efforts have been totally without effect. 
And I humbly beg leave to offer to Your Lordship my opinion that (put- 

1 No. 56, Public Record Office, America 18. 

606 Documents 

ting out of the question the impossibility of bringing any charge against 
M! Liston) this is to be in a great degree ascribed to his frank and well 
timed communication to the Secretary of State. Every circumstance 
which however innocent in itself, might if left to the common course of 
discovery have been considered as decisive proof, had been so happily 
anticipated by him that Colonel Pickerings opinion of his sincerity was 
unchangeably fixed and the views of those members of the Committee 
whose democratic principles might dispose them to triumph in any dis- 
covery of this kind, were compleatly defeated. 

It is not much to be apprehended that these communications which 
the circumstances of the time and the country rendered necessary wdl be 
drawn into precedent on any future occasion and although Colonel 
Pickering by confessing the delicacy of the question he was about to put 
made an implied acknowledgement that an answer might be refused with 
propriety, yet M'. Liston has omitted no opportunity of impressing this 
observation on his mind 

XVIII. Edward Thornton to Lord Grenville. 1 

Philadelphia 28 December 1797 
My Lord 

M' Liston not having yet returned from his excursion to the South- 
ward, I have the honour of transmitting to your Lordship a printed copy 
of the report with the accompanying documents of the Committee ap- 
pointed to prepare articles of impeachment against M. r Blount. It is 
probable that the business will rest here as M r Blount has not made his 
appearance conformably to the recognizances into which he was obliged 
to enter at the conclusion of the late Session, and it seems the general 
opinion that no prosecution can be carried on against him in his absence. 

The letter of General Clarke 2 to the Spanish Consul at Charleston is 
perhaps the only material part of this report with which your Lordship 
has not already been acquainted, and it is probable that M. r Liston during 
his stay in the South may be able to throw some light upon the propo- 
sitions which General Clarke pretends to have confidentially made to 
him through some British Agent. 

I have the honour to be with the greatest respect 

My Lord, Your Lordship's most obedient Humble Servant 

Edw? Thornton 

1 No. 57, Public Record Office, America 18. 

2 See Annals of Fifth Congress, II, 2404, 2413.